I’ve been reflecting a lot lately! A question popped into my head regarding whether or not I had missed out on things as a result of battling cancer at such a young age. The modern-day FOMO if you will.
I don’t pretend for a moment I’m still (never was) one of the cool kids – but for the un-inducted; FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out.
The question was sparked really after an application for Vitality Life and Critical Illness insurance. It’s something my wife and I have talked about doing for years, and we both liked the idea of getting rewarded for getting off the sofa and doing some exercise!
Needless to say, of course I declared my medical history – a childhood tumour – 28 years ago and early indications suggested that this wouldn’t be a deal breaker given the length of time since diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent remission.
I agreed for them to gain access to my medical records and waited for the underwriters to assess my case. Meanwhile, my wife was enjoying her free weekly Starbucks and Cinema tickets for being active.
I didn’t ask for a copy of what the GP sent, didn’t see the point – but the decision came back that I could have life insurance (with an additional premium) but no critical illness cover because of a history of a tumour. A bit gutted really! Not that I’d been denied, more that I’d been given some false hope up front.
The only silver lining in all this was that my monthly premium for just the life insurance didn’t meet the threshold for all the rewards – but because it would have done and it was their decision to deny part of the cover – I get them anyway! Result!
Of course, cancer at the age of six has had a lasting impact. As I’ve already shared, I lost complete vision of my left eye and many more that I’ll share in due course. But I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything at all.
Sure, I missed a whole year of school during treatment. I wasn’t allowed to play rugby – but not gutted at all during those cold winters when my class was being battered with the elements and I was snug and warm in the school swimming pool! Ha!
The path at times over the years has been a tough one; physically and emotionally but throughout all of this it has shaped the person I am.
People always say I’m so laid back and chilled, nothing phases or stresses me. Rest assured I’m not so laid back that I don’t work hard! But in thinking about this constant feedback I’ve had, certainly during my professional career, to some extent, I link it back to that six-year-old self.
Since that experience, no subsequent life events or moments have come close to the memories of pain, sickness, fear, chemo, surgery – probably a never-ending list. And having come out the other side, I’ve always had the mentality when times get tough – well it can’t get any worse than that and so I can conquer this.
I do consider myself incredibly lucky and blessed to be where I am today. Over the years there have been a number of potential late effects that luckily I’ve not experienced. One of the biggest risks was around infertility – but I have been blessed with the most adorable daughter, Emilia, who has just turned two.
Parenthood certainly brings a whole new perspective, and I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for my parents – and likewise, all those going through the same experience today. Life really is a precious gift!